Hidden Museums | St. Louis Public Radio

Hidden Museums

A traveling museum in St. Louis highlights the achievements of black inventors. From left, across: Granville T. Woods, Lonnie Johnson, Sarah Boone, George Washington Carver, Bessie Blount, Elijah McCoy, Madam CJ Walker, Marjorie Joyner, Philip Emeagwali.
Wikimedia Commons

In 1996, Loretta Ford founded the Museum of Black Inventors with the idea of highlighting the achievements of often unsung African Americans who contributed greatly to the fields of science, household goods, engineering and technology.

Housed for a while in the Central West End, the organization eventually outgrew its location and in 1998 the museum reemerged as a traveling museum and now visits schools, workplaces, and community organizations across the Midwest.

Local retired telephone employees banded together to create the Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum, which opened earlier this year. Here's one of the exhibits inside.
Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum

Sometimes it is best to learn your history from someone close to the history itself. That’s certainly the case with the Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum, which was created and is run by retired telephone workers, many from the St. Louis branch of Southwestern Bell (AT&T).

The museum opened earlier this year, in May, after 13 years of careful planning and collection by a group of locals operating under the umbrella of the Telecom Pioneers, a non-profit telephone company employee service organization.

Joann Martin and Fay Zerbolio are two St. Louis-based miniaturists who run the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis in Bevo Mill.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to the world of St. Louis’ amateur miniaturists, you work with the supplies at hand.

“I once painted with the whiskers of a cat,” said Joann Martin, president of the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis.

While that’s a little out of the box as far as supplies go, it serves as a good example of just how tiny miniatures can be and how precise the artisanship is.

A view inside the Museum of the Dog.
Stephen George | Museum of the Dog

Fine art. Puppies. Never the twain shall meet, right? Wrong, says the American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog, a St. Louis County museum which allows socialized dogs to stroll beside fine works of dog-themed art.

The museum was originally located in New York, but the American Kennel Club thought the museum would call more foot traffic in the Midwest than it would on the East Coast, and so St. Louis became all the more pet-friendly in the 1980s.

Don Marsh spoke with Tom Gasko, the proprietor of the cacuum cleaner museum and factory outlet in St. James, Missouri in response to a Curious Louis question Wednesday.
Usodesita | Flickr | http://bit.ly/29pXhu1

Those of you who have grown up in St. Louis might remember the name and personality of Stan Kann, the 22-year resident organist at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. You may also remember him for his vast collection of vacuum cleaners, which made him the most frequent non-celebrity guest on Johnny Carsons’ Tonight Show with over 77 appearances.

Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club

Joe Faron, the vice president of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Foundation, says the museum he helped create is one of the best kept secrets in the United States. The secret is so well-kept that people living right around the corner from the facility in Wentzville, often come up to him astounded that it’s been in their neighborhood for coming up on nine years.

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum-St. Louis is one of fourteen locations across the United States that hold the world's largest private collection of original manuscripts.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The first draft of the Bill of Rights. The paper Einstein’s E=Mc2 was written on. Noah Webster’s first dictionary. These are three influential documents that are included in collector David Karpeles’ largest private collection of original manuscripts in the world — three of over one million such documents.